American Medical Association Guidelines on Medical Tourism & Destination Medical Care

The American Medical Association advocates that employers, insurance companies, and other entities that arrange medical care outside the U.S. adhere to the principles below.  As a leader in destination medical care, here’s our take on the American Medical Association’s guidelines.

Medical care outside of the U.S. must be voluntary. 

Soter position:  We agree.  Soter Healthcare will not take part in any insurer or employer group plan that mandates travel for medical care.

Financial incentives to travel outside the U.S. for medical care should not inappropriately limit  the diagnostic and therapeutic alternatives that are offered to patients or restrict treatment or referral options.

Soter position:  We agree.  Destination medical care is simply one more option for people.  We believe in adding opportunities, not limiting them.

Patients should only be referred for medical care to institutions accredited by recognized international accrediting bodies (e.g., the Joint Commission International or the International Society for Quality in Health Care).

Soter position:  We believe accreditation is critical in destination medical care.  However, we believe the AMA hits only the outside ring of the target.  Click to read our accreditation position.

Prior to travel, local follow-up care should be coordinated and financing should be arranged to ensure continuity of care when patients return from medical care outside the US.

Soter position:  Continuity of care is essential to the success of the patient’s medical treatment.  With the patient’s approval, we will offer opportunities for his/her home physician to consult with the destination physician before, during and after the individual’s medical travel experience.  We deliver medical records following a patient’s destination medical care to his or her physician(s) in English.  We also coordinate benefits, where possible, to support a patient’s finances.

Coverage for travel outside the US for medical care must include the costs of necessary follow-up care upon return to the US.

Soter position: Follow-up care on a patient’s return is vital.  Soter Healthcare makes certain that the patient’s caregivers are aware of his/her needs on return.  Because the majority of our work is with employer groups and insurers, financial support for care after the patient returns is rarely an issue.  We carefully evaluate the potential financial needs of self-pay patients in situations where after-care may be expensive.

Patients should be informed of their rights and legal recourse before agreeing to travel outside the U.S. for medical care.

Soter position: We agree.  Nothing less should ever be acceptable.

Access to physician licensing and outcome data, as well as facility accreditation and outcomes data, should be arranged for patients seeking medical care outside the U.S.

Soter position:  The quality of medical outcomes is our first criterion when considering a destination medical provider.  In order to be considered for Soter Cares™, all physicians must be licensed in the location in which they practice and each hospital must be credentialed at the nation’s highest level.  This information is available to each confirmed patient.

The transfer of patient medical records to and from facilities outside the U.S. should be consistent with HIPAA guidelines.

Soter position:  Patient privacy and confidentiality are critical.  Soter Healthcare takes every step possible to make sure transfer of records and communications are consistent with HIPAA guidelines.

Patients choosing to travel outside the U.S. for medical care should be provided with information about the potential risks of combining surgical procedures with long flights and vacation activities.

Soter position:  We agree.  Soter Healthcare does not recommend or arrange vacation travel as a part of a destination medical care arrangement.  We work with destination physicians to make sure each patient is physically ready to travel safely, both to and from their medical destination.

Destination medical care is a positive addition for patients, their families, and their physicians.  It allows them the greatest possible options to get the care they need at prices they can afford.

What’s your destination medical care interest?

17 Responses to “American Medical Association Guidelines on Medical Tourism & Destination Medical Care”
Leave a Reply